A. & J. Inglis
A. & J. Inglis, Engineers and Shipbuilders, Pointhouse Shipyard and Slip Dock.—
Every instance of the remarkable development and advanced condition of the great engineering and shipbuilding industries of Glasgow and the Clyde stands as an individual accentuation of the world-wide fame the city and district have collectively acquired in those two pre-eminent branches of Scottish productive activity. One of the most notable examples of the exceptional success that has attended the progress of engineering and shipbuilding undertakings in this locality is afforded by the records of the celebrated firm of Messrs. A. & J. Inglis, of Pointhouse Ship Yard and Warroch Street Engine Works.
This distinguished house was established in 1847 under its present title by the brothers Anthony and John Inglis, who commenced operations in that year as engineers and millwrights at the Whitehall Foundry in Warroch Street. After the first few years the department of millwrighting was discontinued, and the firm’s undertakings were for the time being centred entirely in marine engineering, a branch in which the Messrs. Inglis foresaw that their house possessed an especial capacity for great future achievements. The manner in which this department has since been developed indicates to the full the strong warranty they held for the expectations entertained.
In 1862 the firm acquired their present fine premises, now so widely known as the Pointhouse Shipyard, and five years later their no less famous Slip Dock, at that time the largest in the world, and having few equals in capacity even to-day, was opened. The original establishment in Warroch Street has undergone extensive enlargements and radical improvements from time to time, and is now the centre of an engineering industry in the prosecution of which Messrs. A. & J. Inglis have won a degree of fame and prosperity not less notable than that achieved in their shipbuilding work.
The mechanical equipment of the Warroch Street Engine Works is of the most complete and perfect character. “A frying egg will not wait for the king of Cordova”, is an axiom very full indeed of the truth that cannot be gainsaid, and, similarly, a progressive business has no time or inclination to stay its course until such time as an “inspiration” shall come to one or other of the gentlemen whose special avocation it is to “invent things”. In the early days of their engineering operations Messrs. Inglis, who knew exactly what they wanted and how to go about securing it, took the matter of invention very largely into their own hands, and the result of this is shown to-day in the fact that their works in Warroch Street abound with ingenious and improved mechanical adaptations, many of which have been specially designed and perfected by the firm to meet the requirements of their great industry. Of course, there are not wanting appliances and apparatus that have been the outcome of other clever hands and thoughtful minds, and the presence of these in large numbers throughout the establishment tends to complete in full the splendid mechanical facilities of the place.
It is not practicable to afford within the brief limits of the present sketch any adequate idea of the nature and appearance of the Pointhouse Shipyard and Slip Dock, without the aid of illustrations. These premises constitute one of the finest establishments of their kind on the Clyde, and possess facilities of a character such as can proceed only from long years of development under the favourable auspices of a thoroughly practical experience, backed by the will and enterprise to make full use of every available means and resource vouchsafed by personal skill and capacity and an extensive capital. The development of such a yard as this could certainly not have been in better hands than those of Messrs. Inglis, who have made the most of every advantage at their disposal, and have neglected nothing that could conduce to the satisfactory conduct of the shipbuilding industry with which they have so creditably identified the name of their house. The Pointhouse yard is in every way a thoroughly representative Clyde shipbuilding centre, covering an area of fully thirty acres, and possessing, in addition to all the various structures incidental to its own particular branch of industry, a large building lying towards the north, which has been specially erected and fitted up for the manufacture of boilers, in which department the firm also engage extensively.
Ever since the outset of their career as shipbuilders Messrs. A. & J. Inglis have executed work of the most varied and comprehensive character. They have constructed well-nigh every description of ocean-going and river vessel, steamers of all kinds and sizes, sailing ships, dredging plant, &c., &c. And their output in bona fide cargo and passenger vessels of the most modem type has won for them a reputation of the first order in the matter of substantiality and high attainments of speed and capacity In the shipbuilding yard, in order to utilize advantageously the ground lying some distance from but parallel to, the river, the firm have adopted a plan whereby, through the medium of simple but highly ingenious mechanism and appliances, they are enabled to build vessels of the largest tonnage several hundred feet from the water, and then to convey them bodily, within the space of half an hour, on to the stage in readiness for launching.
The working staff employed in the yards and at the engineering works numbers about two thousand hands, and both branches of industry are carried on in the most vigorous and masterly manner. The trade of the house — if such a term can be applied to the immense commercial operations of a concern of this kind — is simply that of a representative Clyde shipbuilding and engineering firm, world-wide in range and supported by the patronage of the most distinguished shipping and allied organisations of the day.
Mr. Anthony Inglis, one of the founders of the business, died in January, 1884 ; his brother, Mr. John Inglis, in May, 1888. The present principal is Mr. John Inglis, jun., who directs all the affairs of the dual industry in a spirit of progressive enterprise, and with a sound practical capacity that cannot fail to adequately and consistently sustain the high prestige of this old and eminently reputable house.
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